Netflix Movies and Shows You Didn’t Know Were Based on Books

Mainstream Hollywood has been turning books into movies and shows for eons! Stephen King, the master of horror, has created tons of films based on his writing, and often with great success. Just look at the rave reviews about IT and the upcoming remake of Pet Semetary. It went so well the first time; King is going for another run!

While not all books translate well on the big and “little” screen, it certainly helps to have fantastic source material. That’s probably why streaming giant Netflix has also hopped on the trend of adapting much-loved books for its original shows. Many know the trendy Bird Box started as a popular book, but what other Netflix originals stem from the written word?

Here are six awesome books the streaming giant turned into Netflix Originals.

‘Anne with an E’

Remember Anne of Green Gables, the beloved 1908 children’s novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery? Even if you haven’t read of it, chances are you’ve at least heard of it. The story follows the spirited young orphan, Anne Shirley after she’s mistakenly placed in a home with the Cuthbert’s to work as a farm hand. The original story captivated an entire generation with its imaginative storytelling.

While the book has had many adaptations over its lifetime, the Netflix version stands out because of its dramatic and visceral nature, just the feel award-winning creator, Moira Walley-Beckett was going for. While not everyone agrees with her take, it certainly made for a unique viewing experience. By the way,  if she sounds familiar, that’s because she had a hand in another fan-favorite Breaking Bad.


Did Mindhunter seem familiar, maybe a little too familiar? Maybe that’s because it was inspired by John E. Douglas’ Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit. The story captures Douglas’s fictitious 25-year stint working with the FBI. The book’s known for its unusually realistic psychological profiling of the heinous serial killers he encounters on the job.

Oh, and here’s a fun fact. This inspiring tale also set the groundwork for Silence of the Lambs. There’s something genuinely alluring about the disturbing nature of crime series, isn’t there? Netflix certainly agrees considering they greenlit season 2.

‘Orange Is the New Black’

Orange Is the New Black is basically a cult classic now. The show is going on its seventh season but will be coming to an end this year. While disheartened fans of the show can’t get enough of the series, they probably don’t know that it’s based on a memoir. Author Piper Kerman released Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison after being released from federal prison. Something good came from her time in the slammer though, a best seller and wildly successful seven season series.

‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’

The romantic comedy, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, was one of Netflix’ most successful movies last year. It was rated number two on its most re-watched original movies list alongside The Kissing Booth and Roxeanne Roxeanne. The film follows high schooler, Lara Jean, as her quiet high school life gets a makeover when her secret love letters mysteriously go public. The heartwarming romantic comedy was also widely praised for having an Asian American actress as its protagonist.

The movie is based on the first book in a trilogy series by Jenny Han. Fans who loved the book were blown away by the movie as the adaptation capture the cuteness, quirkiness, and extreme awkwardness perfectly. In fact, fans loved it so much Netflix is moving forward with the sequel.

‘The Lovely Bones’

The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones | via YouTube

The Lovely Bones is based on a book of the same name by Alice Sebold. The film of the same name is directed by Peter Jackson, the mastermind behind Lord of the Rings and Heavenly Creatures. The story follows a deceased girl as she witnesses the aftermath of her own death. While the book told a riveting story, the source material just didn’t translate as well to screen. The sudden shifts that occur in the book are jarring in the film, making it a weird watch with some fantastic highlights sprinkled in.

‘A Wrinkle in Time’

Madeleine L’Engle is the author behind the creative kid’s book, A Wrinkle in Time. The story follows Meg and her little brother Charles as they try to find their father who vanished without a trace several years prior. The siblings’ adventure through time and space to locate their missing father figure.

The highly anticipated film captivated audiences with its stunning cinematography. The Netflix original also has heavy hitters like Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Ava DuVernay making for some amazing acting. While all the components were present for a fantastic film, some critics felt the message behind it all was a bit confusing. Either way, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that’s worth a watch and of course a read.

This is only the tip of the iceberg! Netflix has many books-turned-movies/series on its platform. Considering their success, they probably won’t be slowing down on finding inspiration in the library any time soon. While you wait on bated breath for Netflix’s newest adaptations why not check out some best-selling books mainstream Hollywood is taking to the big screen this year!